GAMES: The Gran(d)est racing sim to date

Gran Turismo 6
Gran Turismo 6
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This week, Gran Turismo 6 screeches onto PS4, Zumba Fitness starts a World Party on Xbox One and Halo 4: Game of the Year Edition provides stocking filler food for thought on Xbox 360. Meanwhile, Assassin’s Creed Pirates sails onto iOS, while The Wolf Among Us lurks in the shadows on smartphone and tablet

Gran Turismo 6 | PS3 | Racing | £39.99

It’s fifteen years since Gran Turismo first graced our gaming screens and, in the decade or so since, the racing series has firmly established itself as one of the most authentic and meticulously detailed simulations on the market. This sixth iteration doesn’t disappoint either, taking another quantum leap forward when it comes to realism, graphical attention to detail and ludicrously granular customisation options - and this isn’t even on the next gen console. An extra 120 cars from GT5, 100 different track layouts and 70 wheel options per car present a bewildering amount of options, but when you finally get behind the wheel, you’ll fully appreciate the time and effort the developers have put into making this as authentic as driving gets, without physically turning a key in an ignition. It can never be a real racing experience, but GT6 is definitely the closest gamers can get.

93%

Zumba Fitness World Party | Xbox One | Dance | £39.99

If you’re all set to cast aside the 5:2 diet for the Christmas period, you’d do well to have this cheeky rhythmic gaming outlet up your sleeve when January kicks in and thoughts once again turn to bikini/Daniel Craig bodies. Zumba Fitness World Party offers up a home workout purporting to help players burn up to 1,000 calories per hour with the movement and music of exotic global destinations like Brazil, Hawaii and beyond. In practice, this means mastering top-notch choreographed dance routines to 40 pumping music tracks, all in the comfort of your living room. If you can’t face flaunting the flab in the New Year gym stampede, World Party is the perfect way to start the 2014 toning, with a beautiful HD graphical and audio boost to boot.

84%

Halo 4: Game of the Year Edition | Xbox 360 | Shooter | £29.99

The Xbox-exclusive shooter heavyweight shows no sign of retiring, as Master Chief re-emerges in an epic battle against an ancient evil determined to wreak vengeance and annihilation. Shipwrecked on a mysterious world, faced with new enemies and deadly technology, this is a story with enough twists and turns to enlist a legion of new fans. Drop-dead gorgeous graphics are supplemented by stellar sound and the kind of game-engine evolution that, with its significant swell of shooter competitors, has clearly learnt from the advances made in the FPS genre. As with most Game of the Year reboots, if you’ve already played the first release, the extra content probably won’t be enough for you to commit to a second investment, but for everyone else who missed out first time round, it’s an essential purchase.

90%

Assassin’s Creed Pirates | iPhone/iPad | Action | £2.99

The excellent recent Black Flag swashbuckling adventure has whetted many a gamer’s appetite for sea-faring console fodder, and Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, seeks to take the high seas premise a step further on iOS. Here, you play the memories of sea dog Alonzo Batilla, keen to plunder all the booty he possibly can within a crisply designed mobile waterworld. Along the way you will confront the Templars, but don’t expect an unfurling of Assassin’s folklore in here - ultimately it’s a fairly mindless action romp that mixes cannon combat, boat control and mild exploration with only the most tenuous of links to the larger Assassin’s Creed console releases. It may only amuse for a while, but as smartphone and tablet sea-shanties go, it’s worth lending an ear to.

72%

The Wolf Among Us | iPhone/iPad | Action/Adventure | £2.99

From the team that brought mobile gamers the incredible Walking Dead episodic comic-book adventure experience, The Wolf Among Us has some big shoes to fill. Telltale games has found an interesting niche bringing graphic novels to life through the exploration adventure genre. Here a host of nods to traditional fairytales are interwoven to spark a detective story seeping in atmospheric 80s nostalgia and displaying glimpses of the same gameplay gems that made Walking Dead such a winner. That did take a few episodes to warm up, though, so let’s assume that this can only get better. And with cracking characters, voice acting and a fresh take on the now familiar puzzle premise, the future looks bright for the wild-eyed wolf and co.

81%